“বন্যা/Bonna” or the Bengali word for “flood” forms the context of the 6th Edition of the Dhaka Art Summit (DAS), a biennial, international, and non-commercial showcase of art and architecture focusing on South Asia. Far from just meaning natural disaster, Bonna holds positive connotations to ecological cycles and to water as a metaphor for life. It is also a common girl’s name in Bangladesh, and this year, it is with her voice that the summit spoke to the world. Bonna asks us to consider the consciousness-shaping power of language, and the consequences of transcultural mistranslation. What happens when old vocabularies are applied to unfamiliar contexts? Why are words for weather gendered? And most importantly, how do you tell a story of ecological crisis while facilitating empathy and hope?
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